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Posts Tagged ‘The Tools of Screenwriting’

Scott & Scripts 1725

Me in 2012 with some of the books that were the starting foundation for this blog

When I started this blog in 2008 I don’t recall the word curate being quite as in vogue is it is today. But curating has been a large part of what I’ve done. It started with a mountain of over 200 books on screenwriting and filmmaking that I’d collected since my film school days.

Most of them with yellow highlight marks of quotes and paragraphs that stood out to me. And that was the foundation to build on for the past nine years. This year I’m going through those 2,300+ posts and pulling the best.

Here one of my all-time favorite writing quotes from the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega—and happens to be 400 year old advice. It comes from the introduction to a book written by David Howard and Howard Mabley.

“My hope is that the reader will take all the rational and reasonable body of knowledge this book offers, that he or she will digest it in the manner recommended by Lope de Vega…in his comprehensive study of dramatic theory and practice, Writing Plays in Our Times (published in 1609 and written in verse) he stated openly and bravely, after having introduced all the ‘rules’: ‘When I have to write a play, I lock up the rules with six keys.’”
Frank Daniel (First dean of the American Film Institue)
The Tools of ScreenwritingIntroduction 

The basic thought there is whatever “rules” you have embraced along the way, lock them away when you start the writing process.

Note: This quote was originally published in 2009 on this blog in the post Screenwriting Quote 25 (400 Year Old Advice).

Related posts:
Rules, No Rules, Breaking Rules
There Are No Rules
There Are No Rules, But…

Scott W. Smith

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Since I like to focus on dramatic writers with origins outside L.A. I think Lope de Vega qualifies. The playwright was born in Madrid, Spain in 1562 and is thought to have written around 1,500 plays. I was unaware of him until I read The Tools of Screenwriting by David Howard and Edward Mabley a few years ago.

In the book’s introduction is sound advice with what to do with all that you’ve learned about screenwriting:

“My hope is that the reader will take all the rational and reasonable body of knowledge this book offers, that he or she will digest it in the manner recommended by Lope de Vega…in his comprehensive study of dramatic theory and practice, Writing Plays in Our Times (published in 1609 and written in verse) he stated openly and bravely, after having introduced all the “rules”: ‘When I have to write a play, I lock up the rules with six keys.”‘
                                          Frank Daniel
                                          The Tools of Screenwriting
                                          Introduction

 

Scott W. Smith

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